Feds halt Delta's first direct flight to Nairobi

Delta Air Lines was forced to abruptly cancel Tuesday afternoon's planned inaugural flight between Atlanta and Nairobi, Kenya, after federal security officials denied approval.

Delta said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified it late Monday that it would require more time to approve the direct flights to Nairobi. The flights are postponed indefinitely, Delta said.

Delta said it is rerouting all passengers booked on the route onto other flights through its marketing partnerships with other carriers, with connections through places like Amsterdam and London.

Delta has also been denied approval for its new route from New York to Monrovia, Liberia, scheduled to launch June 8. It is rescheduling those passengers also.

The Nairobi inaugural flight was due to arrive in Kenya on Wednesday, via Dakar, Senegal. In Nairobi, a ceremony was planned including various Kenyan and U.S. officials. A performing group from Atlanta's Ron Clark Academy was booked on the flight and was scheduled to perform in Kenya.

The Nairobi and Monrovia flights were among a handful of new routes to Africa that Delta has added or planned to add as part of an effort to tap the market for U.S.-Africa travel. Delta is the only U.S. carrier flying its own planes to Africa.